'Tis the season to beware of those seeking to take advantage of your generous spirit.

I'm a big believer in paying forward, doing acts of kindness, and giving to the less fortunate. While I know I'm not alone in this, I do know that plenty of people are out there looking to take advantage, and especially during the holiday season.

With that in mind Johnathan Harris, Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection recently said that this year the DCP has gotten triple the amount of charity-related complaints from 2015. He issued a press release saying in part:

We understand that consumers want to give back to their communities, and we encourage them to. That said, it’s important for consumers to do their research on charities ahead of a time. We want to make this process easy for consumers, so in addition to going after bad actors, we have also been proactively working with new or smaller charity organizations to make sure they’re registered appropriately

Click on the Department of Consumer Protection to get info on spotting a charity scam, and what you can do if you think the charity is a scam.

You can verify that a charity is registered appropriately by going to eLicense.ct.gov

You can file a complaint regarding a charity by going to dcp.frauds@ct.gov

It's great to embrace the spirit of giving. But we should always do our best to make sure our hard earned money actually really gets into the hands of those who need it and not some scammer lining their own pockets.